I am often asked how I came to play the harp and in return I love to tell this story. Not just because it is my story but because it demonstrates two key lessons. First, no man is an island. I would not be where I am today and who I am today were it not for those who surround me. Second, striving to learn something new at any age can impact other’s lives tremendously. In this case, that life was mine.
At the time she was retiring from a successful career as a nursing professor at Brigham Young University my Grandmother, or Gram as we call her, had a neighbor who played the harp. Ever since Gram was young she had desired to play the harp but due to her father being in the war they moved a lot and that put learning the harp out of the question. Gram instead became a wonderful organist and minored in organ performance upon receiving her Bachelor of Nursing degree. At the time of her retirement, her background in music allowed her to quickly pick up the harp. She bought a small Pratt lever harp and learned quickly, taking lessons from Louise F. Pratt. After years of playing the harp she increased in abilities and thus needed a pedal harp for more technical playing. She bought a pedal harp and decided to pick a granddaughter to take the lever harp. At this time I was ten.
One summer afternoon, I was playing in the backyard when my mother came out. She said that Gram was on the phone and wanted to know if I wanted to play the harp. My first thought was, “But, I wanted to play the flute.” Nevertheless, I conceded and soon the small Pratt lever harp sat in my living room. Gram was my first teacher. For a year my mother drove me the hour every week to my Gram’s house to learn the harp. After a year I moved on to a different teacher but I will never forget getting those stickers for learning my first harp songs at Gram’s house. Nor will I forget the countless hours that my mother spent driving me to lessons. To this day I consider Gram and my parents the great patrons to my career in the arts. To them and many others, I am eternally indebted for this opportunity to play the grand and glorious harp.